On Tuesday, the Hays County Commissioners Court received a presentation regarding the Emerald Crown Trail and approved a resolution of support for the trail and master plan.
Sherwood Bishop, President of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, provided commissioners with an overview of the Emerald Crown Trail master plan.
The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance has partnered with the City of Buda, the City of Kyle, the City of San Marcos and Hays County to form a regional trail workgroup.
Bishop said the workgroup was a voluntary, informal group to help coordinate individual plans for specific areas and includes stakeholders such as the Meadows Center, Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust, Hill Country Conservancy, Take-a-Hike San Marcos and the Texas State Geography Department.
According to Bishop, the Great Springs Project has asked to join; the project will be completely voluntary and will not utilize eminent domain.
The Emerald Crown Trail project’s vision is to link Hays County communities and provide diverse recreational experiences for residents.
“We were inspired originally by the Violet Crown Trail, which was begun in Austin about 20 years ago,” Bishop said. “It begins at Lady Bird Lake near downtown Austin and is already constructed out to about the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.”
Multiple public workshops have been held in Kyle, Buda and San Marcos to receive input on the trail design, possible routes and preferred activities, amenities and destinations.
The Emerald Crown Trail master plan includes potential routes of the trail and design guidelines and standards.
The cities of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos have already approved resolutions of support for the trail, which include the following commitments.
- Continue participating in Work Group
- Consider ECT plan in future master plans and development rules
- Not to use eminent domain; acquire easements in partnership with landowners.
According to Bishop, SMGA is not asking for any financial support or particular action except for the items noted above.
Bishop said the City of Kyle has budgeted for a two-person trail construction crew and has already begun construction on the project; a number of the trail segments will include pre-existing trails in San Marcos.
“I just wanted to thank Mr. Bishop and his team for all the work they’ve put into this,” Commissioner Lon Shell said. “It’s very impressive. I know it’s taken a long time for them to get to this point, and I think it’s good timing with all the work the county is about to do on our parks and open spaces planning commission.”
The court approved the resolution of support with a 4-0 vote; Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra is out of state.
The proposed trail routes in the Emerald Crown Trail master plan are conceptual and will be dependent on collaboration with landowners.